size 12in x 6in, 30cm x 15cm approx. copyright alison warner
This is a stick of rhubarb, it looks a lot like a strange tree with a pink trunk.
It was delicious and pretty to eat, forcing seemed to bring out the redness. It is hard to classify rhubarb, it is treated as a fruit in the kitchen, but is a stem so it is really a vegetable; not only that, it is a vegetable with poisonous leaves which have to be removed before cooking. I wonder what would happen if you sliced it into thin pieces and stir fried it with other vegetables….in a savoury dish would it be tasty or inedible?
Hm ( I just googled for recipes) there are savoury recipes out there for rhubarb but mostly it looks like they are using it to replace orange or apple or plum as a combination to offset the fattiness of mackerell,duck or pork. Wikipedia also points out that it was not used as fruit until sugar became cheap enough to cook with on an everyday basis. In the middle ages it was exported along the silk road and very valuable as a medicine ( they must have set great store by its laxative properties apparently- it was more valuable than opium or cinnamon).
Size 12in x 6in 30cm x 15cm approx
Cacti and succulents are very odd and there it is, they just are. They belong to the awkward squad and as such specialise in sharp points, razored edges and irritant hairs. The shapes are elemental, often harsh and then they flower; the flowers are soft and bright or as in the case of these flowers coloured like a school tie with a sugar rush-but always in complete contrast to the plant that bears them. One of the old gardeners on Gardeners Question Time ( either Fred Loads or Bill Sowerbutts ) when asked about cacti as house plants said, ” the really useful thing about cacti is that they take a very long time to die”; I have one which I am pretty sure has been dead for five years but it has such a thick covering of spines you can’t see the plant inside anyway-its as pretty dead as it was alive -not many things you can say that about!
This picture was done a week ago over the bank holiday at my in-laws they have a lovely conservatory which is full of plants especially cacti. I could have worked my way round the long window-sill drawing one after the other but there were other distractions (chocolate and slow roast pork shoulder).Various alterations were made to the computer over the holiday and several of the bits I use went awol so whatever I have painted I have been unable to blog (fume).
The Allotment is leaping away at the moment ,asparagus almost ready to cut and rhubarb knee high…the one we forced lifted its bucket a foot off the ground .